March 5, 1999
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Husky junior distance runner Anna Aoki ran a career-best 16 minutes, 33.51 seconds to finish 12th in the 5,000 meters on Friday's first day of competition in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the RCA Dome. Texas Tech sophomore Leigh Daniel captured the championship in the event, finishing first in 16:01.11.
The 12th-place NCAA finish is the highest ever for Aoki, who placed 13th in the 3,000m as a freshman in 1997. Friday marks the second consecutive meet at which Aoki, the 1998 Pac-10 10,000m champion, has bested her career-high in the event. The Vancouver, Wash. native buried the field at last week's Alex Wilson Invitational, finishing in 16:36.23.
Earlier Friday, senior Derek Prior sprinted to a 47.27-second finish in the 400m dash preliminaries, a mark good for fourth in the qualifying heat. The time was well short of Prior's career-high of 46.45 seconds, posted in a dazzling victory at last week's Alex Wilson Invitational. Prior finished tenth overall in the event, just missing the cut for Saturday's finals. South Carolina senior Jimmy Hackley crossed the line first in 46.62 seconds, and will lead the top eight finishers into the championship heat. It was Prior's second consecutive appearance at the NCAA meet; last year he helped lead the Husky men's 4x400m relay team to an eighth-place finish.
With the indoor season behind them, the Husky men's and women's track and field teams begin outdoor competition with Saturday's Washington Open Preview Meet at Husky Stadium. Top club, college, and university teams from around the Northwest are expected to attend, with events scheduled to run all day. Admission is free for all fans.